Following snow in the Peak District and the prospect of a reasonable weather forecast, I felt I had to get out to enjoy it. However, some of the roads were closed because of snow, and driving conditions on others were difficult, so I had to plan with care where to go. If it’s one thing I hate, it’s driving on snowy/icy roads! I therefore decided to make for Baslow, which would only involve driving from home on low level roads, and do a walk along the various southern gritstone edges, which offer great views and impressive craggy scenery, all enhanced by snow cover.
Gritstone edges are a particular feature of the Peak District running for many miles down its Eastern side and are also to be found further west in the Staffordshire Peak District. The rock is a hard sandstone that was quarried for building purposes and was also used for millstones; the edges are very popular now for rock climbing. The gritstone area of the Peak district is often referred to as the ‘Dark Peak’ as opposed to the limestone area, known as the ‘White Peak’.
I arrived at the car park at Baslow after driving through a snow shower around Matlock and then along the road through Chatsworth Park that had some snow cover. I took care on this but had no problems. The car park charge was £6.20 for the day, which seemed extortionate! It looked like a winter wonderland around Baslow as I set off just after 9am, first having to follow the farm track up onto Baslow Edge. I took a short detour to Wellington’s Monument then backtracked to follow the path along the top of Baslow Edge to Curbar Gap where the minor road from Curbar village cuts through the dip between Baslow and Curbar Edges.
The road to Curbar Gap looked quite icy and one or two vehicles were having great difficulty driving up it. My path carried on along the top of Curbar Edge, which eventually becomes Froggatt Edge. The views were outstanding with some fairly threatening looking cloud around and with snow covering the branches of the trees. The path entered some woodland before reaching the main Calver to Sheffield road.
I walked beside the main road a short distance, passing the Grouse Inn, and then followed the bridlepath onto White Edge. This runs parallel to Froggatt and Curbar Edges, but at a higher level to a peak of 367m, making for even more expansive views. Having been walking north along Baslow, Curbar and Froggatt Edges, I was now walking south and followed the path along White Edge for about 4km.
The path eventually dropped down to the road across Curbar Gap and the main Baslow to Sheffield road. I crossed this and took the path leading to Gardom’s Edge. This is relatively unfrequented, but has some lovely birch woodland along the top and great views of the Derwent Valley. After about 2km, the path dropped down to the Baslow to Chesterfield road, which I crossed to follow a concession footpath up onto the last gritstone edge of the day; Chatsworth Edge. After about 1km, I dropped down into Chatsworth Park, eventually picking up a footpath leading back to Baslow. I’d walked along six gritstone edges and covered about 19km.